Or, rather, since the day job left me—as a writer friend puts it—as I got laid off. It’s been really wonderful to be able to have one career again, to be able to focus fully on writing, but in some ways, I’ve exchanged one kind of stress for another.
You know what I mean. Money money money.
So far we’re fine. We’re paying the monthly bills, etc. But since my husband is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, he’s not salaried either. Our income varies wildly and unpredictably. I had to buy my own health insurance, which was a nightmarishly difficult process. Don’t get me started on how labyrinthine the process for claiming Unemployment Benefits is.
Aside from all that, however, I’ve discovered something else that I never expected.
The writing is really different for me.
Even though I’ve always treated it as my profession, as a job – now it’s the only career I have. I’ve finished my last contracted book and I’m waiting on three different submissions out to traditional publishing houses. In the meanwhile, I planned to start a new series to self-publish. I was supposed to start that on Monday.
So far I have 47 words and 4 pages – all template.
Granted, I’ve been super busy the last few days. I’m writing this blog post on the plane to the Coastal Magic Convention (that’s the view from my hotel room near the airport as I’m posting this) and I was gone over the weekend celebrating 25 years with the husband.
(Which is WOW, right there!)
The last few days were full of business and busy work, packing and prepping. And no new words. Still, I wasn’t *that* wall to wall busy and normally I prioritize getting words in above everything. Yesterday, during an emotional phone call with a dear friend – the kind I can text and say “do you have time for an emergency emo convo?” and she says, “let me get my earbuds” – I finally sorted out my problem.
For the first time maybe ever in my writing career, I was thinking about the money more than the story.
Because, you know, we need money, dammit. And even though this trilogy I want to write is an idea I’ve nursed for a long time and I’m excited about, I also think it could sell well. I think my established readers will love it. All of these pieces are Good Things.
But, oy – how thinking about the money has paralyzed my creativity!
Fortunately, my good friend is also blessed with excellent sense and she managed to wedge some of it into my head. I think I’m good to move forward now. I know in my head that writing a story I love and hoping it will also help pay bills are not mutually exclusive ideas, I just need to get my heart to understand that.
After all, starving in garrets is so last century.